Thursday, 10 March 2016

SA govt will intervene in Nigeria, MTN case if asked: Zuma

President Jacob Zuma says government will only intervene in a battle between MTN and the Nigerian government when asked to do so.

Earlier, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari partly blamed the local mobile operator for the abduction and killing of people in his country by Boko Haram.

The Nigerian Communications Commission imposed an R80 billion fine on MTN for alleged breach of rules on SIM card registrations.

President Zuma says for now the matter is between MTN and the Nigerian commission.

Meanwhile, South African company MTN is in talks with the telecoms industry regulator in Nigeria to reduce the fine imposed for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards from its local network, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday.

Africa's largest mobile network operator, which makes 37% of its sales in Nigeria, its biggest market, last month said it had made a $250 million "good faith" payment towards reaching a settlement after dropping a legal case against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Nigeria imposed a deadline on mobile operators to disconnect unregistered SIM cards, which MTN missed, amid fears the lines were being used by criminal gangs, including militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The fine, originally set at $5.2 billion on the basis of charging $1 000 for each unregistered card remaining connected, is the latest sign of tension between the countries which vie for economic and political dominance in Africa.

A number of South African companies have said they will leave Nigeria, citing currency restrictions imposed by the central bank in its bid to defend the naira as the country battles the economic crisis caused by the plunge in oil prices.


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